The NTR building in Hilversum
|Founded||1 September 2010|
NTR is a Dutch public-service broadcaster, supplying television and radio programming of an informational, educational, and cultural nature to the national public broadcasting system, Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO). NTR was created in 2010, following the merger of the Nederlandse Programma Stichting (NPS) and two educational broadcasters, Televisie Academie (Teleac) and the Radio Volksuniversiteit (RVU). For details of these predecessor organizations, see further below.
Public broadcasting organizations in the Netherlands (that is to say, in the Dutch context, listener and viewer associations) do not have their own stations but are allotted airtime on the three public television and eight public radio networks broadly in relation to the size of their respective memberships. NTR, however, as an independently established statutory body, is not a membership-based organization.
RVU, the Radio Volksuniversiteit (People's University Radio), was the longest-lived educational broadcasting organization in the Netherlands. Established in 1930 by the Bond van Nederlandse Volksuniversiteiten (Federation of Dutch People's Universities), it was at first granted airtime by the AVRO and VARA broadcasting associations. A licence to operate independently was obtained on 14 June 1931 and RVU became a public broadcaster in its own right in 1932.
Its mission was to present informative and educational programmes that would encourage listeners' and viewers' active participation in society.
Teleac and NOT (1963–2010)
Meanwhile Nederlandse Onderwijs Televisie (NOT) (Netherlands Educational Television) began operations on the 27 June 1962, evolving from the Netherlands Education Film board in The Hague. Its purpose was to supply primary and secondary teachers with educational programmes for use in the classroom. These were made in co-operation with Teleac, RVU, and the NOS, although NOT had no broadcasting licence of its own. That changed in 1988, when the new Media Act established NOT as an independent broadcaster and the new organization, together with its employees, moved from The Hague to Hilversum, taking over full responsibility for the schools programmes formerly produced by the NOS.
Early, tentative steps to merge the educational broadcasters were made in 1996, with Teleac and NOT – organizations which shared the common goal of producing educational programmes – merging to form Teleac/NOT. The combined organization reverted to using the overall name Teleac in September 2009, branding its output as Teleac (for adults), SchoolTV (for 4-18 yrs) and PeuterTV (for babies and toddlers).
A further joint venture was entered upon in 2005 when RVU and Teleac together formed Educom.
On 28 April 1994, a new Media Act confirmed that the existing broadcasting associations operating within the public framework were to have their participation the system extended for a further ten years and required them to increase their co-operation with each other. The Act also reinforced the brand identity of the public channels over against that of the individual associations.
A new programming quota was outlined in which the associations were required to produce:
- 20% cultural output (of which half was to be creative artistic productions)
- 30% education and information
The NOS, which had produced such programming in addition to its core news output, was to be split in half, and pass those duties on to a newly created public broadcaster. The split was confirmed with the launch of the Nederlandse Programma Stichting (NPS) on 1 January 1995.
In mid-2005, Jan Peter Balkenende's second cabinet presented plans to renovate the broadcasting system, including abolition of the NPS by 2007. The proposal was met with fierce resistance from many viewers and listeners, given the dedicated and fairly sizeable audience for the NPS's output. The idea was that other broadcasters would take over the type of programming that the NPS had previously provided.
There was little confidence among viewers, however, that this would actually happen. It was speculated at the time that the real motive for the proposed abolition was that the governing parties (Christian Democrat and liberal conservative) saw the foundation's output as being too left-wing. The plans were in the end withdrawn following the elections of November 2006.
Merger into NTR (2010–present)
On the 1 September 2010, the NPS, Teleac and RVU merged to form a single entity. The NTR name is composed of the first letter of the three formerly separate organizations. The idea behind the merger is one of money being more efficiently distributed amongst fewer broadcasting organizations. The new organization has no members, as per the Dutch public system norm as it is a statuory public service broadcaster and a legal entity inherited from its predecessors.
Its programming focus is now concentrated on news analysis, education, culture, children's education and ethnic minority output.
Its mission, as stated from its Business Plan of 2010:
The NTR contributes to a democratic knowledge society by creating informational, cultural and educational programs for the entire audience with the following core values: independent, impartial, objective, reliable, respect for people and their values, and orientation towards a society of active, independent and curious citizens.
Some examples of NTR programming:
- Andere Tijden: a history program (co-production with VPRO).
- College Tour: an interview show, featuring the most high-profile Dutch and international guests.
- Het Klokhuis: a daily documentary show for primary school children.
- Nieuwsuur: in-depth news analysis (co-production with NOS).
- Sesamstraat: the Dutch-language version of Sesame Street.
- Het Sinterklaasjournaal: an annual children's television series targeted at schoolchildren which 'reports' the news covering Sinterklaas.
- Ekstra Weekend (2006–2013)
- "History of RVU, NTR website, retrieved 2011-07-16" (in Dutch). Ntr.nl. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "Beeld en Geluid, retrieved 2011-16-07" (in Dutch). Beeldengeluidwiki.nl. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "History of Teleac, NTR website. Retrieved 2011-07-16". Ntr.nl. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "Beeld en Geluid, retrieved 2011-07-16" (in Dutch). Beeldengeluidwiki.nl. 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "Beeld en Geluid, retrieved 2011-07-16" (in Dutch). Beeldengeluidwiki.nl. 1994-04-28. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "History of NPS, NTR website. Retrieved 2011-07-16". Ntr.nl. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "NTR in jaartallen - Beeld en Geluid wiki" (in Dutch). Beeldengeluidwiki.nl. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "About NTR, retrieved 2011-07-16". Ntr.nl. Retrieved 2012-03-05.